How did it all happen so fast?
Are Timothee Chalamet and Luca Guadagnino really making a film about cannibals? Is cannibalism actually a kink, is shaming it kink-shaming, and what does it all mean? These are the questions we have about the Armie Hammer story, which continues to grow more upsetting and sordid (or surreal and hilarious, depending on who you are).
The debacle started earlier this year in the wilderness of a chaotic January, when alleged screenshots of Armie Hammer's sexts still managed to be shocking enough to cut through the noise of a Kardashian-West divorce and a Capitol insurrection.
The screenshots initially looked like the work of skilled trolls. They featured uncomfortably graphic sexts — none of which have actually been verified — where he expresses a desire to drink blood, to barbecue and eat his lovers' ribs, and other ah...flesh-related desires.
"I am 100% a cannibal," one reads.
Another one: "You just live to obey me and be my slave... I will own you. That's my soul. My brain. My spirit. My body. Would you come and be my property till you die?"
It really seemed like someone was just really bored and trying to troll Armie Hammer. But Hammer did not find it funny at all. Soon after the messages surfaced, Hammer stepped away from his role in the J-Lo-helmed Shotgun Wedding and dropped a sort of incriminating statement of denial.
"I'm not responding to these bullsh*t claims," the actor said to TMZ, "but in light of the vicious and spurious online attacks against me, I cannot in good conscience now leave my children for four months to shoot a film in the Dominican Republic... Lionsgate is supporting me in this and I'm grateful to them for that."
A Downward Spiral
Things have not gotten much better for Hammer in the weeks since that initial flurry of messages. Hammer has also left the project The Offer, a Paramount Pictures film about the making of The Godfather, and Variety reports that he was asked to leave both that and the JLo project.
It's unclear as to whether Armie Hammer's career will suffer permanently from these accusations. He has a variety of high-profile projects lined up, including a stint on Anna Asante's Cold War film Billion Dollar Spy — which also happens to star Mads Mikkelsen, who originally played cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter on the show Hannibal.
Hammer is also slated to eventually star in the sequel to Call Me by Your Name, the dreamy Italian queer film that launched Timothee Chalamet into stardom as a teen when he played Hammer's young lover. Coincidentally, the film's director, Luca Guadagnino, and Chalamet are apparently working on another movie about...a cannibal love story.
Since the initial messages, more of Hammer's exes have come out to speak about his proclivity for kinky, sometimes-too-far sexual preferences. Hammer has periodically dropped hints about his love for BDSM in his interviews and online, but apparently he sometimes went beyond the consensual into the realm of the truly bizarre.
Hammer's ex, 22-year-old Paige Lorenze, told the Daily Mail that Hammer used a knife to cut the initial "A" into her skin during a sex game. Apparently the roughness was just too rough: "Any man who is fantasizing about crushing bones, eating them, having sex with female limp bodies is a danger to all women," she said. Two other women he previously dated also spoke out about Hammer's bizarre sexual preferences.
Hammer's representation continues to deny these allegations. "These assertions about Mr. Hammer are patently untrue. Any interactions with this person, or any partner of his, were completely consensual in that they were fully discussed, agreed upon, and mutually participatory," wrote Hammer's lawyer in a statement to Daily Mail.
Meanwhile, Hammer's ex-wife, Elizabeth Chambers, finally spoke out on February 4th about the shocking revelations. "For weeks, I've been trying to process everything that has transpired. I am shocked, heartbroken, and devastated. Heartbreak aside, I am listening and will continue to listen and educate myself on these delicate matters. I didn't realize how much I didn't know," she said.
"I support any victim of assault or abuse and urge anyone who has experienced this pain to seek the help she or he needs to heal," Elizabeth posted on the social media platform. At this time, I will not be commenting further on this matter. My sole focus and attention will continue to be on our children, on my work and on healing during this incredibly difficult time."
That isn't the only time Chambers has commented on it all, though; when news of the Chamalet cannibal love story film broke, she commented, "No. Words."
Kink-Shaming or Cannibal-Hunting?
Subsection title about kink-shaming (i find this to be the most interesting angle -- lolz, "Are We Kink-Shaming Armie Hammer or Spotting a Cannibal?!"
Is this all an example of kink-shaming — and a violation of the trust and privacy inherent in an adult sexual relationship? Is it a necessary exposé.of an abusive man, one that will prevent him from becoming a true Marilyn Manson-level sadist? The truth seems to lie somewhere down the middle here. It appears that Hammer took strange preferences — which he is allowed to have — a little too far and became abusive at times.
BDSM, of course, isn't abuse — when it's done right — but a hallmark of BDSM is that there is consent and clear boundaries. Unfortunately, Hammer's actions seem to go far outside the realm of consent, an important distinction to make.
Will Hammer's career recover, as so many others' have post-allegations? It could. Most likely, pre-#MeToo and Twitter, Armie Hammer would have been allowed to go on forever, riding on the strength of his good looks and power, doing whatever he wanted, as many powerful men have.
Has he truly been canceled, once and for all? Will he bounce back, sue his exes for defamation, and become an action hero? Or will this send him on an even darker, more insidious path? Will he found a cannibal cult or fully lean into his impulses? It's 2021; we're beyond the pale and anything is possible.
It seems that Elizabeth Chambers has the best approach. Earlier this week she shared an image of her desk with a candle and a pile of sage and used the caption, "also how much sage is too much sage? asking for a friend [obviously]."
Sage being an endangered and sacred plant, it should not be used lightly — but if you find out that your husband is maybe a cannibal, it does seem like a good time to ward off whatever you can.